He pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty, then pleaded for mercy in the hope of avoiding a life sentence. But James Alex Fields Jr. did not get any mercy Friday from a federal judge in a Charlottesville courtroom. The 22-year-old white supremacist will spend the rest of his life in prison for driving his car into a crowd of people at a neo-Nazi rally in 2017 and killing Heather Heyer, reports the Daily Progress. Dozens more were injured. "I apologize for the hurt and loss I've caused," said Fields before his sentencing, per the AP. "Every day I think about how things could have gone differently and how I regret my actions. I'm sorry."
Fields was sentenced Friday on federal hate crime charges, and he will be sentenced on separate state charges next month, per USA Today. Fields received 29 life sentences, one for each of the federal hate crimes he pleaded guilty to, including the murder of Heyer. Parole is not an option. US District Court Judge Michael Urbanski said Fields' actions were clearly premeditated and the evidence "doesn't demonstrate a crime born out of impulse, youth, or mental illness." Among those who spoke in court was Susan Bro, mother of Heyer. "I'd like to see him find meds to help his mind to heal," she said, per CNN. "I don't know if Mr. Fields can ever be trusted in society. I hope he can heal someday and help others heal, too." (Read more James Alex Fields Jr. stories.)